MISS MILLY LIMITED - 2021 GOTY ENTRANTS
Miss Milly offers an array of colourful jewellery, scarves and accessories, including compact mirrors, purses and keyrings. The products are designed to co-ordinate across the ranges and create impactful in-store displays. Our primary focus is the jewellery and within the collections a lot of mixing and matching can happen as we retain a small core palette of colours that runs through each season.
Tell us about your business
Miss Milly is an independent, family-owned business now in its ninth year of trading from the base in Worcestershire. The company is amed after the founder, Sarah's, daughter and grandmother, and the name was chosen for its femininity and Britishness.
What can you tell us about your entered products?
We have entered two products into the competition. The first is our new magnetic necklace sets. These innovative, gift boxed sets have been created with the jewellery lover in mind. Each set contains a single snake chain with magnetic attachment and come with three interchangeable magnetic pendant designs.
There are two sets available, one offers three plain metal pendants featuring matt and shiny silver, matt rose gold and greys of different tones. The second gift set contains three bold, coloured resin pendants in cobalt blue, dark red and grey.
The pendant sets are beautifully presented in a Miss Milly branded gift box with silver foil logo and silver hanging ribbon, making them great for displaying both by standing on a shelf or by hanging.
What makes these sets even more practical and versatile, is that the chain with magnetic attachment can also be used with our magnetic brooches, turning this very popular item into a pendant whenever the wearer likes.
Our second entry is for a product that we never anticipated we'd be stocking before this summer; pretty necklace style lanyards for face masks. There are many situations where people are constantly putting their facemasks on and then taking them off again. People in occupations such as teachers, retailers, office workers and sales representatives, and the general public out shopping, will be doing this a lot. Rather than then keeping the mask in your pocket or bag and maybe getting it contaminated, with a lanyard, you can have it hanging around your neck.
The Miss Milly lanyards attach to your face mask elastic by means of a lobster clasp at each end of the necklace style item. The lanyards each measure 60cm or 24” in length. And there are three different designs, one of which comes in three colours, giving a total of five styles to choose from.
At only £10 RRP, these make a great pick-up item displayed next to face masks and are perfect for stocking fillers, Secret Santas and as a gift for the person who has everything!
Why did you choose to enter Gift of the Year 2021 and has the competition helped boost your brand in the past?
We have entered the competition this year as we believe we have products worthy of consideration that meet the requirement for innovation, design, practicality and affordability. And without any physical trade shows for what looks like is going to be about 17 months, finding new routes for getting in front of retailers is key.
Has your business been affected by Covid-19?
Absolutely. When the majority of your customers are closed down, a negative impact on the business is inevitable. 2020 is a year where we feel we have worked harder than ever for a smaller immediate return but hopefully a longer term gain.
What changes have you made as a result?
We made communication with our retailer customers a priority and we didn't quibble over cancelling outstanding orders, despite the huge impact on our cash flow. Once the initial shock of Lockdown died down, we set up a Zoom support group for interested retailers and worked as the facilitator for discussions on the current situation, eCommerce and plans for re-opening.
At the same time, we worked to pivot the business and increase direct sales to consumers from the website and social media. There has always been tension over a wholesaler also selling directly but the move to marketing a brand rather than specific and separate B2B and B2C activities, which was already happening, has been fast forwarded by COVID-19. Our offering centred on Letterbox Loveliness, a letterbox gifting product that includes hand-decorated packaging (drawn and coloured to order by the founder and her daughter, the real Miss Milly), and has been updated with new Christmas-specific designs.
What other products have you brought to market for 2020, can you share them here?
Spring & Summer 2020 was our largest jewellery collection launch to date and the ranges, displayed in colour blocking style, made a great display at The Spring Fair. This included a range of gift-boxed resin cufflinks, our first products for men, that arrived in June. And in October, we launched a new collection called Local Loveliness, heart jewellery and keepsakes designed in conjunction with a local Worcestershire crafter and made to order for wholesale and retail.
Where can your products be purchased?
Miss Milly operates from its website at www.missmilly.co.uk and has stockists throughout the UK, from gift shops, clothing boutiques and department stores to garden centres, farm shops and visitor attractions. We have sales agents for many areas and are happy to help first time buyers put orders together to specific budgets and requirements.